NA Vice Chairwoman meets top Serbian legislator hinh anh 1Vice Chairwoman of the National Assembly Tong Thi Phong (L) and Speaker of the National Assembly of the Serbia Maja Gojkovic (Photo: VNA)

Belgrade (VNA) - Vice Chairwoman of the National Assembly Tong Thi Phong, who is in Serbia to attend the 141st Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), had a meeting with Speaker of the National Assembly of the host country Maja Gojkovic on October 16.

Phong expressed her pleasure at visiting Serbia for the first time as well as her impression of a beautiful nation which is rich in history, tradition and culture.

She said that Vietnam attaches great importance to developing ties with traditional friends in central and eastern Europe, including Serbia.

She held that the two countries boast high potential for cooperation, especially in economy, trade, education and sports.

Two-way trade has reached 25 million USD per year, but has yet to reach the potential of both sides, she said, proposing the two countries focus on promoting their partnership not only in economy and trade but also in energy, culture and people-to-people exchanges.

The two countries should create more opportunities for businesses to exchange and explore each other’s market and strengths, while seeking new cooperation opportunities, she said.

Regarding collaboration between the two NAs, she said they should increase delegation exchanges and share experience in law-building, supervision and law enforcement, creating a corridor for economic, trade and investment cooperation.

Phong thanked Serbia for supporting Vietnam in running for the position of a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council in the 2020-2021 tenure, expressing her hope that the two sides will continue cooperating with and supporting each other in regional and international matters.

For her part, Serbia’s top legislator said that this is a historical bilateral meeting between leaders of the Vietnamese and Serbian NAs, contributing to enhancing mutual friendship and partnership between the two countries.

Maja Gojkovic noted that the 141st IPU Assembly has gathered the highest number of delegates in its history, with nearly 80 NA speakers and 60 deputy speakers, along with over 2,500 parliamentarians and representatives from international organizations.

Vietnam and Serbia should work more closely to contribute to raising the union’s role and position, she said.

She agreed with her guest on the need to promote the partnership between the two NAs as well as bilateral ties in economy, trade, culture and defence.

She also took the occasion to invite Vietnamese NA leader Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan to visit Serbia soon.

Also on October 16, Phong had a separate meeting with head of the Australian delegation Lucy Wicks, during which she showed her delight at the growing Vietnam-Australia ties, especially in economy, trade and education-training, and particularly since 2018 when the two countries lifted their relations to a strategic partnership.

Noting that the establishment of friendship parliamentarian groups of both sides has contributed to fostering collaboration between the two parliaments, Phong said that in the future, the two sides should work closely to realize the outcomes of the Vietnam visit by Speaker of the Australian House of Representatives Tony Smith in July this year.

The Vietnamese official thanked Australia for supporting Vietnam’s bid for the UN Security Council as well as its stance on the East Sea issue. Vietnam hopes Australia will continue supporting the central role of ASEAN as well as ASEAN-led mechanisms, she said.

In 2020, Vietnam will act as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council, ASEAN Chair and Chair of the ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA), she noted, asking for Australia’s assistance in performing the roles.

Phong also conveyed an invitation from NA Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan to Australianparliamentary leaders to visit Vietnam and attend the 41st AIPA General Assemblynext year.

Wicks said that the Australia-Vietnam relations play an important role in the partnership between Australia and ASEAN.

The successful Vietnam visit by Australian PM Scott Morrison in September 2019 helped strengthen the bilateral strategic partnership, she said, adding that Australia hopes to continue bolstering its affiliation with Vietnam in economy, trade, education-training and people-to-people exchange.

Australia supports and promotes trade liberalization and wishes to further enhance economic cooperation between the two countries, she stated./.